Some Biographical Notes--Jeff Gundy

I was born in 1952 on a farm near Flanagan, Illinois, and grew up among corn, soybeans, and chickens in the prairie country that remains my psychic home. In 1975 I graduated from Goshen College with a degree in English, and did masters work in creative writing and a doctorate in American literature at Indiana University in Bloomington. After teaching for four years at Hesston College in Kansas, since 1984 I have been at Bluffton College, where I am Professor of English and former chair of the English/Language department. During a sabbatical leave in 2007-08 I will spend the spring semester as a Fulbright lecturer in the American Studies program of the University of Salzburg, Austria.

My newest book of poems is Spoken among the Trees (University of Akron Press, 2007). Also recent are Walker in the Fog: On Mennonite Writing (2005), a prose book published by Cascadia Press as part of the C. Henry Smith Series (and winner of the Dale W. Brown Award from Elizabethtown College) and Deerflies (2004), a book of poems which won the 2003 Editions Poetry Prize from WordTech Editions and the Nancy Dasher Award from the College English Association of Ohio. Earlier  books include four chapbooks (including the recent Greatest Hits 1986-2003 from Pudding House Press), three full collections of poems--Rhapsody with Dark Matter (Bottom Dog Press, 2000), Inquiries (Bottom Dog, 1992) and Flatlands (CSU Poetry Center, 1995)--and two books of creative nonfiction--A Community of Memory: My Days with George and Clara (Illinois, 1996) and Scattering Point: The World in a Mennonite Eye (SUNY, 2003). Poems and essays have appeared in literary and scholarly magazines including The Sun, Colorado Review, Quarterly West, River Styx, Antioch Review, Tampa Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Witness, Christian Century, Mennonite Quarterly Review, Conrad Grebel Review,The Common Reader, Image, Poet Lore,  Shenandoah, Georgia Review, Antioch Review, Poetry Northwest, Pleiades, Hawaii Review, Spoon River Quarterly, Creative Nonfiction,  Image, Laurel Review, Crazyhorse, Ohio Review, Cincinnati Poetry Review, Indiana Review, Artful Dodge, Mid-American Review, and Mennonot.

My poems have been anthologized in Modern Poems of Ohio, A Capella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry, Sweet Jesus: Poems about the Ultimate Icon, Food Poems, Illinois Voices, and several volumes in the yearly series What Mennonites Are Thinking. Recent essays appear in  the books The Measure of My Days, a Festschrift in honor of John Ruth, Minding the Church, in honor of Morris Sider, and Anabaptists and Postmodernity, ed. Susan Biesecker-Mast and Gerald Biesecker-Mast. 

Major recent projects include serving as chief organizer of Mennonite/s Writing: Beyond Borders, an international conference on Mennonite literature held at Bluffton University in late October 2006, which attracted over 250 participants. I also recently finished a five-year term as General Editor of the Intro Journals Project, a nationwide contest publishing work by student writers, sponsored by Associated Writing Programs. In addition, I have served on the faculty of the Antioch Writers Workshop (in both nonfiction and poetry), the Language of Nature summer workshop sponsored by the Environmental Education Council of Ohio, and led numerous other writing workshops and seminars, including a workshop in the “Imaginarium” series at the 2007 Cornerstone Festival. I have judged poetry manuscripts for the Illinois Arts Council, given readings at Bowling Green State University, Penn State University, Wheaton College, Ferris State University, and many other places. and taken part in many other conference and panel discussions, including a panel/reading on contemporary Mennonite poetry at the 2002 AWP conference in Baltimore.

Since 1992 I have written a series of essay-reviews of current nonfiction and poetry books for The Georgia Review, including an extended review of five books by Mennonite authors which appeared early in 2004In 2006 the journal nominated my work for a National Magazine Award in reviewing, and in 2007 I shared in a Silver Gamma Award given to The Georgia Review for Best Series (On Poetry) by the Magazine Society of the Southeast with Judith Kitchen, Robert Schnall, and Paul Zimmer. Other honors and awards include six Ohio Arts Council fellowships, ten Pushcart Prize nominations, two C. Henry Smith Peace Lectureships, and a fellowship to the 1995 White River Writers' Workshop. In 2004-05 I was Faculty Scholar at Bluffton University, supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment. Recent readings and workshops  include the Antioch Writers' Workshop, the Winter Wheat Festival at Bowling Green State University, the Language of Nature Institute, Chapman University, the University of Windsor, the Oregon Institute, Penn State Altoona, Firelands College, the Wick Poetry Series at Kent State University, Bradley University, Eastern Mennonite University, the Lorain Community College Literary Festival, Ohio Poetry Day,  Manchester College, the Laurelville Poetry Workshop, Conrad Grebel College, and Bethel College.  I am available for (and enjoy) workshops, readings, and so forth as my schedule allows.

I have been married to Marlyce (Martens) Gundy since 1973, and we have three grown sons: Nathan, Ben, and Joel. My hobbies include playing guitar and handball, jogging, and soccer.